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Critical illness and children's cover: what's the difference?

No one wants to think of themselves or their children getting seriously ill. But it’s a possibility life insurance can help you prepare for. With Post Office Life Insurance, you can pay a little more each month to easily add extra cover in case.

Our critical illness cover pays out an extra cash sum if you develop a defined critical illness. And children's cover pays out cash sum if a child insured on your policy dies in an accident, is seriously injured or falls seriously ill.

These options can help financially in such difficult times. Whether it’s paying bills, maintaining your family's lifestyle, taking your child to medical appointments or adapting your home.

  • Critical illness cover
  • Children’s cover

Critical illness cover

Why might you need critical illness cover?

Life can change massively if you or a loved one are diagnosed with a serious illness. The cost can be both personal and financial.

Adding optional critical illness cover to your Post Office Life Insurance policy could give extra peace of mind in case that happens.

The extra cash sum it pays out could help towards your mortgage, medical bills or changes to your home. Providing reassurance and space to focus on getting better instead of worrying about your finances.

Why choose our critical illness cover?

Our critical illness add-on provides extra cover for:

  • Cancer (except less advanced cases)
  • Coronary artery by-pass grafts (with surgery to divide the breastbone)
  • Heart attack (of specified severity)
  • Stroke (resulting in permanent symptoms)

And when you apply, you’ll get an instant decision and immediate cover.

How does critical illness cover work?

It’s easy to add critical illness cover to your Post Office Life Insurance:

  • Add it when you apply for your main policy or once it’s started
  • Pay a little extra each month for the additional cover
  • It provides a minimum of £10,000 cover
  • The maximum cover at the start date is either 100% of the main policy cash sum or up to £200,000 – whichever is lower

To claim on your policy you must:

  • Be covered by the policy when you make the claim
  • Be diagnosed with one of the four illnesses we define as critical
  • Survive for at least 30 days after diagnosis

You can’t make a claim in the first 3 months from your cover’s start date.

How do critical illness payouts work?

  • When a critical illness payment is made, the cover will end and your monthly premium will be reduced accordingly
  • If a critical illness payment is made, your main life cover policy will continue until the end of the term. Its cash sum won’t change as long as you keep making your monthly payments
  • On joint policies, it pays out when the first policyholder is diagnosed with a critical illness

For full definitions and details about what is and isn’t covered, please refer to the terms and conditions.

Children’s cover

Why might you need children’s cover?

It’s hard enough thinking about what life would be like if you were diagnosed with a critical illness yourself, let alone imagining your child falling seriously ill.

By paying a bit extra each month, you can add the reassurance of children’s cover to your life insurance policy.

It's designed to help cover the extra costs you may face if your insured child suffers a specified injury or illness that meets our definition. These may include medical expenses, taking time off to attend hospital appointments, arranging childcare or making adaptations to your home.

Why choose our children’s cover?

You can choose between £10,000 and £30,000 of cover in case a child insured on the policy:

  • Dies within 90 days of an accident that occurred after the policy start date, or
  • Suffers one of the following injuries or illnesses:

Bacterial meningitis (resulting in permanent symptoms)
Blindness (permanent and irreversible)
Cancer (except less advanced cases)
Deafness (permanent and irreversible)
Encephalitis (resulting in permanent symptoms)
Loss of hands or feet (permanent physical severance)
Paralysis (total and irreversible)
Traumatic head injury (resulting in permanent symptoms)

How does children’s cover work?

It’s easy to add children’s cover to your Post Office Life Insurance:

  • Pay an additional premium each month for the extra cover
  • Insure each child for a minimum of £10,000 and a maximum of £30,000
  • Each child can be covered for a different individual cash sum
  • The children must be under 21 years of age and resident in the United Kingdom at the start date or, if children's cover is added to your policy later, the date when they are accepted for cover

Claiming on your policy

  • The children’s cover cash sum is paid once for each insured child
  • The cash sum payable is specified in your policy schedule
  • You can’t make a claim within the first 3 months of cover, if the condition was known to be present at birth, or if the injury or illness occurred before the insured child's cover started

For full definitions and details about what is and isn’t covered, please refer to the terms and conditions.

Get a quote online

It’s quick and easy to get a quote for Post Office Life Insurance online.

Get a quote by phone

Monday to Friday: 9am - 8pm

Saturday: 9am - 5pm

Closed on Sundays and bank holidays

Common questions

  • No, you can't take critical illness cover only. It needs to be taken out with a life insurance policy. But you can choose the amount of critical illness cover to meet your needs. The minimum amount of cover is £10,000, The maximum amount is 100% of the life insurance cash sum or £200,000, whichever is lower.

  • Yes. The critical illness cover amount available is between £10,000 to £200,000 or no more than 100% of the life insurance policy cash sum.

  • No. Once we’ve paid a claim for a critical illness your critical illness cover will stop. The main life cover policy will continue. Future monthly payments will reduce as you won’t be paying for your critical illness cover. As long as you keep paying, your life cover cash sum will stay in place for the life of your policy.

  • No. Your critical illness cover is separate. It’s not deducted from your main life cover cash sum. Keep making your monthly payments and you'll still get 100% of your life cover cash sum if you die during the life of your policy.

  • Yes. You can add the critical illness cover after the policy start date.

  • You can remove, increase or decrease critical illness cover (subject to policy limits) from your Post Office Life Insurance. If you cancel your policy, the critical illness cover is also cancelled.

  • The cash sum you receive from a critical illness cover or children's cover is currently tax free. Tax rules may change in future.

  • There is no maximum number of children you can cover. We can pay one claim per child.

  • For more FAQs visit our life cover support page

Need some help?

Life cover help and support

To make a claim, find answers to common questions, access bereavement and wellbeing support or contact us for something else:

Visit our life cover support page

About our life insurance

Post Office Life Insurance is underwritten and administered by Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited. Neilson Financial Services Limited assist in the administration.

Things you need to know

If you're choosing to add critical illness cover or children's cover to meet a specific financial commitment, you need to be comfortable that the amount of the extra cash sum will meet your needs. We cannot provide you financial advice, but you can find a financial advisor at

The critical illness Cover and children's cover are optional additions to Post Office Life Insurance. If your Post Office Life Insurance policy ends, your critical illness cover and/or children's cover ends too and you cannot make a claim.

We won't pay a claim if two consecutive premium payments are missed or if you give us an incorrect answer to our application questions that affects your cover, we may reduce the amount we pay for a claim or at worst cancel your cover and not refund your monthly payments.

Terms and conditions apply. Please read them for exclusions and limitations.


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